What A Year Without Clothes Did For Me
2014 was a clothes-less year for me. Never fear, I wore clothing, I just didn’t purchase any. Quite simply, I wore what I had. This wasn’t one of those “I won’t buy clothes this year except for these 5 categories of things” or “well, I’ll just buy clothes I really need” or “underwear doesn’t count, right?” Nope, my 2014 clothes ban was a no holds barred, full court press, 100% no clothes buying year.
My inaugural post on this topic, with the rather obvious title of Why I’m Not Buying Any Clothes in 2014, delves into the rationale behind my decision. I now want to share what this ban did for me as a clothes-wearing human. Plus, this gave me an excuse to take a bunch of photos of my outfits on the floor again (and you wonder how we get away with a $0 entertainment budget 😉 ).
My One Failure
I’ll be totally honest with you, I did acquire one hot pink belt from a garage sale for $0.50; but other than that, not a scrap. I didn’t buy underwear, socks, yoga clothes, work clothes, hiking clothes, play clothes, pajamas clothes, jewelry, coats, party clothes… you get the picture (and I can’t think of any other types of clothes). As regular readers are already aware, Mr. Frugalwoods and I have expensive, high quality undies (men’s, ladies) currently in their 6th year of life. Can’t beat our undies.
So Much More Than Money Saved
While this self-imposed ban enabled me to save money, I wouldn’t necessarily say this was the primary motivator–especially since most of my clothes were purchased from thrift stores. More importantly, it was an opportunity for me to explore contented living: being satisfied, complete, and fine with what I already own.
By not buying any clothes, I had to examine why it is that new clothes have made me so happy–and dare I say, fulfilled–in the past. Thanks to this ban, my self-worth has become increasingly divorced from my physical appearance, which is an interesting departure for me. In the past, I was quite expressly concerned with what I looked like on a daily basis and somehow, the year of no clothes has caused those sentiments to wane. I’ve re-prioritized what matters. As with most of arenas of life, I find that living frugally, minimally, and consciously has ripple benefits that far exceed the monetary rewards.
Buying clothes doesn’t define you, isn’t a requirement, and shouldn’t be seen as a hobby.
Without the option of running out to the thrift store, I had to sift through my closet and get creative. I mended clothes, I found some free clothes by the side of the road, and I just plain wore old clothes. I couldn’t gain weight. Not that I physically couldn’t (although that would be a sweet attribute to have…), rather I couldn’t let myself gain weight if I still wanted to fit into my clothes.
I do fully recognize that I already own a bunch of fabulous outfits and so this ban isn’t as much of a hardship on me as it would be on someone without a large wardrobe. I’ve carefully purchased sale and second-hand clothes for years to build up my stash, so I’m definitely in coasting mode now, enjoying the fruits of my past expense and labor. I take comfort in the fact that few items in my closet cost more than $50 (with exceptions for coats, boots, my wedding dress, and a nice black suit).
I get dressed and ready more quickly now. My morning routine is whittled down to about 25 minutes, which I’m pretty pleased with. I’ve realized that I’d rather spend my time on activities that yield measurable results, not wasting my time getting dressed and fixing my hair.
While I still make an effort to look presentable at work and I actually do enjoy getting dressed up, it’s no longer a preoccupation. I wear the clothes that I have with the mostly make-up free face that I have and the dye & product-free hair that I don’t bother to blow dry anymore. It’s quite liberating.
I’d long envied Mr. FW’s rapid morning routine and it was something of a wake-up call for me that I could get ready almost that quickly too. No one is standing in my house saying that I, as a woman, must spend hours primping. This revelation strikes very close to the core of what I believe as a feminist–that as a woman, I shouldn’t be expected to wear heels (I don’t) and lipstick (I don’t) and put myself through torture just to conform to an ideal.
I increasingly gravitate to clothes that are comfortable and fun for ME to wear. Anything that’s tight or itchy (itchiness is the bane of my existence) is in the Goodwill pile (which, full disclosure, is sitting in our basement in a box because I keep forgetting to drop it off…. blerg). Through this process, I’m rebelling against not only the endless probes by our culture to consume, but the prompts from society for women to look, dress, act, and even think a certain way. No thank you, I’ll stick with my confident, frugal weirdo-embracing, brazen outlook any day.
I find this transformation in how I feel about myself and my appearance especially interesting since all I did was delete an activity. I didn’t go out and procure a whole new wardrobe or get a makeover or go on a pilgrimage–I just stopped buying clothes.
This was a wonderful lesson for me that sometimes, the most rudimentary changes can bring about the most profound shifts in our thinking. Removing the burden and expectation of purchasing was absolutely liberating for me. Stepping off the consumer carousel enabled me to take stock of where I place value in my life.
I’ve never felt more confident in who I am, which I attribute at least in part to not buying new attire. I’m not so naive to assume this is an isolated variable–far from it–2014 also brought about a cosmic alteration in how Mr. Frugalwoods and I envision the rest of our lives. Since formalizing our plan to move to a homestead in the woods once we reach our version of financial independence in 2.5 years, I’ve felt vastly less pressure to adhere to prescribed modes of conduct. I’ve never felt more free (and we’ve never saved so much money in a single year!).
How I Did It
It sounds rather elementary, but, once I made the decision, I just stopped going shopping. I didn’t get into protracted debates over whether I would or would not buy anything because it wasn’t even an option. I set a concrete and attainable goal and all I did was stick with it.
I wish I had some great secret to divulge here, but I seriously just haven’t looked at, or tried on, any clothes. I’m a rather competitive person by nature and I love giving myself things to “win” at, so this was a perfect challenge. Incidentally, this is also why Mr. Frugalwoods and I remain so steadfastly focused on saving 65%+ of our income. We’d be losing at our own game if we didn’t.
Clothes, I Still Enjoy Them
It’s not that I’ve sworn off all thoughts of how I dress, it’s just that I don’t obsess over it from a consumption-oriented viewpoint. I’m not giving away all of my clothing and wearing burlap sacks (though watch, that’ll be what’s in next year…). Rather, I’m learning to appreciate what I already have. I actually delight in my outfits more now, knowing that they’re all I have for the year.
To be honest, I’m still more vain than I’d like to be. My focus is on what makes my body healthy and less on what I look like, but I know I’m still too caught up in my appearance. Decreasing my vanity is a work in progress.
Where Are Mr. Frugalwoods & Frugal Hound In All This?
Mr. Frugalwoods isn’t much of a clothes horse and isn’t motivated to buy clothing for any reason other than pure necessity (as in, “these pants have so many holes that I can’t bike commute in them without being arrested for indecent exposure so I guess I have to get another pair”). We’ve had many a conversation whereby we assess whether or not he can continue wearing a certain article of clothing or if it’ll constitute partial nudity.
He didn’t buy much clothing in 2014, just a few shirts from garage sales. I doubt he’ll buy much of anything in 2015 either, just because that’s his minimalist proclivity. Truth be told, it was always me grabbing duds for him at the thrift store anyway. Interesting how one person’s habits spill over and impact the other person’s behavior…
Frugal Hound would prefer that hounds never wear clothes and so she’s pleased with any and all bans on clothing. She actually doesn’t own any “dog” outfits, other than her excellent collection of hats, which are mostly gifts from her grandparents. Frugal Hound and I are basically the same size (in some areas) and so she just wears my clothes for her photo shoots. She perceives this as terrible. I perceive it as terribly cute.
I shocked myself by how much I actually enjoyed this ban. I thought I might find it restrictive or even frustrating, but it’s been exactly the opposite. I don’t worry about my clothes anymore. I know that there are plenty of outfits in my closet and that I have regalia appropriate for any occasion (such as perhaps FinCon 2015… ).
The freedom I’ve gained through this experience reinforced that I hate the idea of being ruled by stuff. I don’t want my things to define me, control me, or own me. I like the power over my own life that comes with not buying. Plus, as I shared in my original explanation of this ban, every frugal tip in the world isn’t going to save as much money as simply not buying anything. That’s a solid fact.
As my friend Shannon of Financially Blonde pointed out when she interviewed Mr. Frugalwoods and me on her superb podcast, I’m not going to need cute clothes out on the homestead. Touché. And so very true.
One aspect of planning for our future homestead is acknowledging that our lives will be radically different and that our priorities will shift. We’ve given ourselves several years to prepare for homesteading and these gradual evolutions in our lifestyle, and how we think about material goods, are certainly part of the process.
Update: check out the next installment in this series: Pregnancy Hasn’t Foiled My Clothes-Buying Ban: Here’s How.
And so, I’m going to continue. I hereby declare 2015 to be another no clothes buying year for Mrs. Frugalwoods. Who’s with me? Have you ever gone on a shopping ban of any sort?
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I did a No Shopping Challenge from April 1, 2012-April 1, 2013. One of the big things that surprised me was-no one notices what you wear. My colleagues (friends) who saw me almost every single day would ask if I was wearing something new-even though they new I was doing the challenge. Usually, it was an item that they had seen several times before. I also realized that a lot of the times that I went shopping I was actually bored. I had to find something else to entertain myself during that year. It was very freeing. Yes, I still love pretty new things. I just really focus on quality now before quantity. I think it’s really cool that you did this 🙂
Umm, that was actually from April 2013-April 2014…jeez.
That’s awesome that you did it for a year too! I knew we had a lot in common :). So true that no one cares what you wear! People ask me if stuff is new all the time too, which is especially hilarious for me because I own very few clothes that I purchased new to begin with. I just prefer the pre-owned look ;).
Quality is where it’s at! I moved up north this year and thus had to spend a crap ton of money on winter coats and sweaters. Buy the good stuff and it lasts. Now that my closet is set, I can’t fathom the next time I’ll have to buy a coat.
True! Quality pieces (especially coats) can last you for years! Well done 🙂
I decided to pick out my 20 favorite wardrobe pieces. One of them is over 15 years old, a suede coat I bought on sale, and it still looks great. I’m going to try to buy less this year. Not sure I can go “cold turkey” for an entire year but I’m going to try!
My favorite hooded, knee-length black parka cost me $5 at the local thrift store. I’ve had it for 10 happy years. It must be good quality, plus it goes with everything. Nearly blew my entire year’s clothing budget!
I am going to try it.
That’s a random thing about you Frugalwoods. I am actually impressed. I can’t imagine myself not buying a single clothes even in a month. I am still amazed how you pulled it off last year. Also this year? I must say “Good luck”! The challenge is on!
Thank you so much! It’s been a really enlightening experience for sure 🙂
I’m definitely with you on this! I have so many clothes already, and need to downsize all our possessions for a potential move to a cottage in the countryside, as we hope to take early retirement within the next couple of years. So, we are pledging to buy nothing new this year, with certain exceptions (not clothing!).
I love your blog by the way! Good luck with your 2015 challenge!
Thank you so much for your kind words, Elaine! Your plan sounds wonderful and like a perfect way to prepare for moving. Congrats on being so close to early retirement–that’s fantastic!
Wow. Really tough challenge! Congrats for this feat!
Thank you so much!
Okay, I seriously want to hire you as my frugal shopper except that I have been like you and on pretty much a shopping ban because like you I have realized I have everything I need. That being said, I have three weddings this year and I would love to find one awesome black dress to wear to them all. So if you seeing anything in the size 6/8 categories if you are out shopping for FinCon 2015 (which I really hope you attend) let me know!
I would LOVE to be your frugal personal shopper! A good black dress sounds like an excellent idea :). If you ever come to Boston, we’ll go thrifting for sure!
“every frugal tip in the world isn’t going to save as much money as simply not buying anything.”
It’s great to see that statement finally written on the blogosphere – this resonates.
Thank you! I find it’s too easy for me to get caught up in finding the best deal, when in reality, it’d be best if I just avoided spending money altogether. Thanks for stopping by!
I’m gonna be real honest and say I’ve never done a no shopping month, let alone a whole year. Kuddos to you! I do think it would be liberating. While I don’t think I could go an entire year, I think I will try to go one month without clothes shopping. Thanks for the inspiration!
I think one month sounds great! You can do it :)!
Wow, no clothes for a year is super impressive! I didn’t end up spending a lot on clothes last year ($150, plus another $250 if you include various types of athletic shoes), but a decent amount of that was replacements for stuff I had that wore out, or that I just needed. Good luck with keeping up with Year 2!
Thank you! And, nicely done yourself! Those are super low clothes-related expenditures.
I’m so impressed with how well you did. One $0.50 slip-up, and hey… it was a steal of a deal for a nice little accessory 🙂 I have way too many clothes, but haven’t yet sworn off new things, though I probably should.
I love your outfits and style, by the way. 🙂
Why thank you, my friend! I do really like that belt to be totally honest…. 😉
My internet connection ate my comment! How annoying. The executive summary: yay you! And I bought nothing but a t-shirt in 2014, but that’s going to have to change in 2015 due to the need to professionalize my wardrobe.
Grrr, internet! But, thank you :).1 t-shirt in 2014 is pretty darn impressive!
Very nice Mrs. FW! I need to send this post to my Mom who literally has dozens of articles of clothes in her closet with tags still on them because she buys too many! Seriously though, like Mr. FW I’m not a clothes horse by any means and only bought a handful of things over the past year and it was largely due to weight loss so that’s a good excuse I guess. 😉 My goal for this year is to replace my wardrobe with the money I’ll get from selling my old stuff. It’ll be a challenge, but one I’m up for.
That sounds like a great challenge! I like it! And, congrats on your weight loss–that’s definitely a good excuse 🙂
I found it very freeing when I stopped wearing makeup and dying and using products in my hair. It saved time and money, and I’m not sure anyone really noticed anyway.
Love it! And, so true. No one notices or cares because we are beautiful without cosmetic intervention…. and I’m increasingly lazy in my prep routine 😉
Nicely done! As you said I’m sure it stream lined your ability to get ready or dressed, cut down on decision time. Any estimate on how much you save on the year long ban?
Thank you! That’s a great question, maybe $300? Maybe a tad more? I should go back and see how much I spent on clothes in 2013 :). It’s not a huge amount because I buy almost everything used, but, it’s not trivial either!
Ooooohh very nice! I love your style of clothing I do! Maybe Frugal Shopping consultant might be in you future! 🙂 2014 was the opposite for me I bought for myself some clothing. Much needed clothing since I couldn’t recall the last time I bought clothing for myself.
Thank you! I think being a frugal shopping consultant could be a lot of fun! Clothes are definitely necessary to buy sometimes 🙂
I’m with you on this one! I’ve started my no clothing spend year and so far so good. It’s only been 5 days but I have to keep my focus. I have a lot of really nice clothes that if I take care of them, they’ll last me quite a while. It’s tough being in sales and in a major city centre like Toronto, people kind of expect you to dress a certain way. Nevertheless, no clothing for 2015. I was going to do exceptions for an item that may wear out but I’m inspired by your challenge of doing NO EXCEPTIONS. Better for me that way… Great job on not spending on clothes! 🙂
That’s awesome, Michelle! You rock! For me, exceptions are always the slippery slope… I find it easier to just draw a firm line in the sand. Otherwise, I’ll find myself drifting into a store… :). Good luck to you! We can stay strong together in 2015 🙂
Congrats! And your outfits looks so fabulous. It is amazing what not buying clothes, or drastically cutting down can do for you. I thought of you the other day when I was at Goodwill buying a few new skirts for work.. I am going to try to go as much of this year without buying many clothes (although I am on a constant search for some awesome black boots and will buy those when I find them – my search is on its 3rd year), but, I am emerging from a tumultuous few years of pregnancies and weight loss cycles, so I plan on buying a few more clothes when I get back to my 2010 weight. I am going to try and shop more at Goodwill though!
Thank you! I went on a similar boot hunt a few years ago and ended up getting brand new Fryes, which were expensive but totally worth it. I too searched for years and finally realized I should just invest in quality. You should definitely get some clothes to celebrate weight loss–and Goodwill is an excellent source!
Hmmm… you are the 2nd person to mention Frye boots to me in the last few weeks, maybe I do just need to save up for them and make them last for 20 years!
I bought a pair of used Frye boots at a vintage shop in Austin for $40 in 2010 (they have a date stamp on the inside of the boot saying they were made in 1976!). I spent $70 to have them resoled and I literally wear them at least 5 days a week. I even wore them with my wedding dress, that’s how much I love them! Other than investing in some good leather cleaner and my husband buffing them out for me a couple of times a year, they have been the best shoes ever! I would definitely recommend them!
That’s awesome, Heather! Nice find! I love that you wore them with your wedding dress–cute.
I bought my Fryes new and wow do I love them (yes, it’s love 😉 ). Mrs. SSC–you should at least try on a pair of Fryes and see what you think. I seriously tried on every pair of cheap boots in the world (ok maybe that’s a slight exaggeration), but I really did an epic search. And in the end, I went with quality. I had them re-soled this year and they’re good as new. They’ll truly last for years. Let me know what you decide!
I am so with you about itchy clothes. AAAGRRH! I have donated more items that I just couldn’t bear to wear because they irritated my skin so much. I pretty much just wear cotton now and it seems to help. 😀
Yes! Glad I’m not the only one! I cannot stand uncomfortable fabrics or itchy tags/zippers. Can’t wear wool either. Just can’t do it! 🙂
I’ve never done a ban. My wardrobe is a terrible mishmash of a few things that look great (high-waist skinny jeans! brilliant!), many things that look more or less fine, and a few things that look dreadful and I don’t know why I still own them (the gray jean skirt, bought pre-kids, that I was wearing when someone asked me if we were adding a third child to our family. We are not).
I’ve been in a weird place of not wanting to spend money on clothes, so not wanting to get rid of them, so kind of limping along with an occasional purchase and a closet half-full of junk. Geez, that sounds dreadful. All right, when I get around to it I am going to take everything unflattering to Goodwill and buy a few things more pieces.
Maybe they meant “are you adding a 3rd child ever”–not necessarily right now? Or maybe you should get rid of the skirt ;)! I like the idea of swapping old clothes for new at Goodwill. Sounds like a great plan to me! Good luck!
Ah, I wish, but his exact words were, “And another on the way?” But apparently my abs have improved. Grandma FP, who can always be relied upon to tell one the truth about one’s appearance, told me I did not look nearly as pregnant at Christmas as I did over the summer. Umm… thanks, Mom?
Oh that’s classic! Well, hey, at least she’s honest 😉
I do believe you could make it again through 2015 without buying. They look in style and fine.
Thank you! Here’s hoping … 🙂
Wow! You’re so skinny and you have a cool looking pup. I wonder if I could make it 1 year without purchasing any clothes… nope don’t I can LOL
Thanks! Frugal Hound is definitely a cool gal 🙂
We spent less than $1,000 last year on clothes, which was a good improvement, but still seems exorbitant now that I type it… I buy half of my clothes used, and I have stuck to a fairly strict limit of $20 for any item of clothing (except for shoes and coats) since I was in high school. Only recently have I made an exception for pants to cost up to $25 because that’s how much my favorite Banana Republic pants cost on clearance. Most of my new clothes I buy during one incredibly strategic trip to the JCrew and BR factory stores with gift cards from Christmas. Marge has been wearing the same versatile dress to wedding after wedding after wedding. Mabey sometimes will get a new collar, but otherwise, she’s naked. Nothing cheaper than that!
Naked dogs definitely help with the bottom line ;). I keep wearing the same dresses to weddings too–kind of funny because Mr. FW only owns one suit, so he’s always wearing that. We look at photos and can’t always remember which wedding it is because we’re almost always in the same outfits :)!
Mr. FW has had great luck with Gap pants on clearance at the Gap factory outlet for circa $10. They’re the only brand of pants that seem to fit him well, so we were happy to discover those clearance sales. It’s realllllllly tough to find used men’s pants. Basically non-existent at our thrift stores.
I have the same problem. I think I have only 1 or 2 pairs of used pants, but shirts are very easy to find. I guess we men just hold on to our pants until they’re too embarrassing to list for sale.
Hah, yep! I think that is indeed the prevailing menfolk used trousers issue 🙂
I have to say, you are BRILLIANT at finding cute and unique thrift store deals! Love that tunic with the bright pattern. 🙂 In 2013 I resolved to buy no new clothes that came from a country without labor laws or where labor laws were inefficiently enforced. In this way I ended up shopping at thrift stores more often since it took me out of the first consumption cycle. That resolution continues to influence what I buy and how I look at my clothes. However I don’t shop often in the first place–3x per year maybe? Anyway, best of luck to you continuing in 2015!
Many thanks! I like your philosophy–that sounds great. I’m a big fan of used things (furniture, cars, clothes) partly because of the price and partly because of the lower impact. If I can get something used, I always feel like it’s a better situation all around–cheaper for me and keeps things out of the landfill.
I practically have an almost no clothes shopping thing going on because very little is spent in that area, although in 100% honesty, I really could use more. I have shoes that are literally falling apart on me, so it’s one area I could really use more. But, I plan on checking out more thrift stores for things and will continue to buy only things that really, really matter to me. Or that I’ll really wear…a LOT! One thing that helps a lot is living in LA where the weather isn’t extreme enough to buy seasonal wardrobe. I pretty much wear the same thing year round with just more layers. I think overall though a shopping ban of some kind, even if it’s just a month is a good way to learn about yourself and what you really need. Glad it has been so successful for you!
You’re so right–it has definitely taught me more about what I really need. There’s been a big realization for me of what are wants and what are needs, which I’m really thankful for. So true about LA weather–that’s kind of nice! And, sounds like new shoes might be a good plan 🙂
It’s funny, I think I accidentally did this, too 🙂 The only thing I remember having bought is a pair of boots during winter sale. I’m curious how things are going to be for you this year. Since I decided to give away everything I own (zero-thing.challenge) last October, I haven’t bought anything except food. Yet I haven’t followed through with it, but the effects of letting go are amazing. Afterwards I actually plan to live with borrowed things only. The reason why I want to do this is just what you describe in this post: not identifying with what you wear or own is an enormous relief.
Wow–I’m impressed you gave away everything you own, that takes dedication! I don’t think I could do that, but I’m really intrigued by the idea. What a wonderful statement that you’re not owned by your stuff or beholden to things.
Hey! As I said, I haven’t followed through yet and actually still own my stuff. But the plan is set and now it’s just a matter of logistics. I also plan to write a book about it and intend to give my stuff to the first buyers in a kind of lottery. The procedure is a bit complicated, but I’ve got time 😀 No need to hurry 😀
Gotcha. Still, a very interesting experiment. I wish you all the best :)!
Great job! I’ve actually been thinking about a clothes shopping ban myself. I love the way you put it: “my self-worth has become increasingly divorced from my physical appearance.” I think we often don’t realize how much we allow our looks to define who we are. It can be really subtle. That would be the most appealing part of the experiment for me.
Thank you! That was absolutely the most profound aspect of the whole experience for me too. Not buying in and of itself becomes sort of routine, but the changes that it brought about for me were pretty substantial. Thanks for reading 🙂
We are pretty good about not buying clothes all the time. Like the Mr., I only buy clothes out of necessity, and Kate is really not that much into shopping either… which is good. I don’t think we’ve gone a whole year without buying anything clothes, but I think I can do it… I’m not sure about her though, especially not this year since she just got a new job.
Sounds like you have a pretty good clothes-buying approach. And hey, if you can go a year without getting anything new, even better :)!
You have stunning clothes, especially considering a total lack of shopping for the year. I am about to do a humongous gut job on my closet and I am sure I will turn up new outfits as a result of that…. I plan to get rid of most things that I don’t wear regularly, if I’m not wearing them for a specific reason. Obviously there are limited occasions to wear a floor length gown, but a blazer that I never put on? That’s on its way out.
Why thank you! I need to sort through my clothes more too. I definitely still have things that I’m not wearing on a regular basis. Blazers! I know I have blazers I don’t wear!
I did a 3 month no clothes spending freeze last year, and it worked pretty well! I’ve always loved clothes shopping, so I was pretty proud of myself for sticking to the 3 months. I’m not sure I could go longer than 3 months because my weight has been a struggle for me since developing thyroid problems a year ago.
3 months is awesome–congrats! I’m sorry to hear about your thyroid problems, that must be frustrating. But way to go on challenging yourself!
Good job! I don’t think we could go on a clothes shopping ban with 3 growing children. I mean, there are always swap meets and begging for hand me downs (which we are totally okay with). But the thrift shop is just too easy to use as a nearly free way to outfit our kids and us. The latest haul, 13 clothing items and a brand spanking new purse for Mrs. RoG for $16 is where it’s at. That also included some apparently brand new clothes (including a nice tiny halloween themed t-shirt that says “I love my mummy” that the 2 year old can wear year round and get laughs).
As for me, I bought a few pairs of shorts (brand new from a store, I know I know, I’m a spendthrift!) this past year and maybe a pack of socks. So $40? And new shoes for everyone in the house. I’m probably good for the next year and tend to buy close to zero clothes every year.
Wow, you do amazingly well at thrift stores! I’m always impressed with your haul! And I definitely agree with you–probably not possible to do a ban with growing kiddos!
We always have to buy Mr. FW’s shorts and jeans new too. Used men’s shorts and pants are rare as hen’s teeth in our thrift stores. I actually don’t think he owns a single pair of used pants–they are that hard to find! I think it’s because you menfolk wear holes into your trousers… at least Mr. FW does!
I usually wear my shorts and pants until they are ragged with holes. Then stitch them up if possible and wear them out again. Nothing like a good pair of comfortable well-worn shorts. I’ve never actually found a good pair of shorts or casual pants at the thrift store, but they aren’t too expensive at walmart or similar stores ($10-20 a pair) and I only buy a pair or two each year on average.
Stitching holes is definitely a good way to eek out a few more months. We stitch up Mr. FW’s pants-holes too, but once they’ve worn through, I find the patches don’t last long. But, you’re right that new replacements can be had for pretty cheap. I really like Kohl’s for men’s shorts.
Love this! I am considering adopting the same goal, it would help with my savings resolution for the new year, although I don’t spend a ton of cash on clothes but every bit helps!
Do it :)!!! I’m in the same boat–I didn’t spend a ton of money on clothes, but still, it was money!
We had a pretty minimal clothes-buying year in 2014. On two occasions, Mr. Maroon had to pick up something while out on a business trip when he was unprepared – once for colder weather than expected and once for forgetting his clean shirt for the second day of a conference. I know that the only clothes I bought in 2014 were maternity clothes… Frugal tip for you – Plan pregnancies so that they fall in the same season. Mini #1 was born in February, so I had a nice stash of wintery clothes. Mini #2 was born in September. Obviously the sweaters and jeans weren’t going to cut it for the summer. But now, I’m completely prepared for anything should Mini #3 come along!! But we are on-board with no clothes for 2015!
That’s awesome! Welcome aboard :)! I like your pregnancy tip–hah! Makes sense though 🙂
I stopped wearing makeup to work in 2014 and I love the extra time I have in the morning! Also, I run out of makeup FAR less often! 🙂
I don’t really enjoy shopping so I sort of live in a ban that only gets lifted when I really need something!
Yay to no makeup! Living in a shopping ban is a good way to be 🙂
I don’t really like banning things, but I really don’t like shopping and avoid it until completely necessary. So in 2014, the only clothes I bought for me were 3 pair of running socks (close to free thanks to Small Business Saturday), 4 pair of running shoes (since that’s how many I wear through each year on average with the number of miles I run), and on boxing day a pair of nice ballet flats for work to replace a pair that were, literally, falling apart. (Those shoes went to the garbage.)
Mr PoP on the other hand, got an influx of new work shirts since many of his were getting worn at the collar, new jeans since his old ones were getting too worn to wear to work on casual days, new work-out shoes, and new socks (too many holes!). Quite the haul this year, actually – but necessary. =)
Sounds like all needed items! Some years are clothes re-stock years for sure. I think 2013 was like that for us, which has enabled us to coast for awhile here. I’m impressed that you wear through 4 pairs of running shoes–that’s awesome!
I don’t enjoy shopping, so my clothes collection is pretty small. If anything, I don’t spend enough time finding deals in thrift stores so I end up buying more expensive clothes! I do use my clothes until they wear out though.
Good luck for another clothes shopping free year.
Oh I forgot to say — “As with most of arenas of life, I find that living frugally, minimally, and consciously has ripple benefits that far exceed the monetary rewards.” Great line. I feel the same way.
Thank you! I’m continually pleased to see how living more frugally has made us happier, more peaceful people. It’s a wonderful thing.
And, wearing your clothes until they’re worn out is a great tactic!
We just reviewed our 2014 spending, and I noted that I spent $103.50 on clothes for the year. One pair of hiking shoes, and one white dress shirt. But then I’m a guy… 🙂
Nicely done! Sounds like a pretty frugal year :)!
Your wardrobe is fabulous. I often have trouble keeping clothes spending down. But that’s because I work part time in my fav retail store. We are expecting to wear the clothes we sell. I have cut way back though. I don’t buy anything too trendy and I stick to classic pieces I can wear for years to come. I know I won’t always work in retail and I know I’ll buy a lot less when I no longer have my employee discount. I went about two years of not buying clothes when I was maxed out. So I did have a lot to make up when I first started working in retail. But I’m pretty satisfied with what I have now. I just need some new shoes (to replace daily shoes that are fallin apart) and a few more pairs of leggings (I wear them with my dresses instead of tights. They last so much longer and are more comfy).
Sounds like you have a good balance with your employee discount–too bad they make you wear the clothes you sell though! Agreed on leggings. They are so warm and so very comfy :)!
Love this! I definitely want to go on this ban with you, but mine will probably only last 6 months 🙂 Either way, that is an improvement for me!
Thanks! Hooray! So excited you’re joining. And, I think 6 months sounds great!
Your previous post inspired me enough that I was already planning a spending-ban on clothes for 2015. It feels so liberating already! That post (and this follow up) really resonated with me, so thanks for sharing!
Oh wonderful! That makes me so happy to hear! I’m so glad you’re finding it liberating already. Thank you so much for reading and for joining in on the challenge :). Best of luck to you. We can do it!
Perfect! I LOVE it. I consider myself both frugal and not overly fashion finicky but I had discovered that I had somehow still had an annoying habit of a revolving closet. I would go to Goodwill and buy a bunch at a time and then when the closet was busting a few months later I’d donate the Goodwill finds after only wearing them a few times. So for over 6 months, I just bought nothing at all.
Then a neighbor died and they were basically giving away her stuff (it was a sad confirmation of the truth- you can’t take it with you when you go.) I stocked up on socks, bras, and a few shirts (I couldn’t bring myself to take the used underwear though.) I needed them all so badly and was delighted to find my need met in a way that also saved space in a landfill. Then, lo and behold, I was offered a pair of brand new winter boots for free. They had been pulled from the free pile since they were so nice but since I was helping this neighbor clear the house (I helped drop LOTS and LOTS at Goodwill) she asked if I could use these boots. I had seriously been super fretting over the idea of buying new boots. My old ones were dry rotted. I now have a wonderful new pair and am now set for the year. (Although I do still need underwear.) I’ve learned from this experience to just wait and show some patience and restraint. I would have been bummed if I had just bought any of those things new.
Oh, AND I was just offered ski goggles for free from a deluttering friend. She hasn’t been using them but now we can bike all through the winter– yahoo! : ) : D : ) : D
That’s a wonderful story and I’m sure your neighbor’s family was happy to see her things go to good use. Saving stuff from the landfill is no small victory.
I too find that if I wait patiently, free things that we need will pop up. My winter coat is a great example–I’d been in need of a really warm coat for about a year, but I didn’t want to buy one and, lo and behold, found a down-filled coat in the trash. Amazing.
P.S. I really do highly recommend the underwear that I have–mine is on its 6th year and still going strong!
I know, I know. They’ve honestly been sitting in my Amazon cart for a month now waiting for me to pull the trigger. If/when the time comes I’ll probably start again from one of your links so you’ll be sure to get the commission. You do deserve it! ; )
Hahah, thanks! I just want to spread the gospel of these amazing underpants 😉
What an inspiring post! And you have great taste in putting together outfits – for you AND for Frugal Hound. 🙂
Why thank you! I’m not sure that Frugal Hound appreciates her outfits quite as much 😉
I LOVE THIS IDEA! I seriously love it. I have several friends and family members who view shopping as their hobby and I often get sucked into it as well when hanging out with them. I love the idea of buying nothing new and just loving what you already have. I know I have a bunch of outfits I rarely wear that should get more use so I’m going to try something similar!
Awesome! I think shopping-as-a-hobby is a dangerous cycle to get into. Congrats to you for bucking the trend! Maybe you can convert your friends and family next 🙂
So you aren’t buying that LV bag?
Congratulations on your transformation this year. it’s awesome that you’re going to keep the shopping ban up for another year!
When I left my job to start my own business, I stopped shopping for a year or two. My waredrobe is not extensive and I’m really jonsing for a new pair of pants, so I won’t be joining you this year. But I do wish you luck, not that I think you’ll need it.
Thank you so much! That’s awesome that you stopped shopping for a few years–nicely done.
I have the opposite problem– I hate clothes shopping. So in order to do any at all I blitz at the outlet mall one day every two years. This year was one of the purchasing years– $438 at the outlet mall for a complete new professional winter wardrobe, then $9 on 6 pairs of black socks and a couple of new bras at Target. I think this year I will also need to buy some new shoes (I have two pairs of dress shoes and two pairs of sandals, one of each in black and brown, all four at least 4 years old and starting to wear out), but not yet.
Sounds like a great strategy! I don’t enjoy shopping itself either, I just enjoy the new (to me) clothes. I rarely shop anywhere but thrift stores, and I admit that I do enjoy the hunt for a good deal 🙂
I always disliked heels (and shoes at all for that matter) and makeup, but sometimes I’d play the game. I was so fortunate to meet Jay who didn’t like them either. I still held onto mascara for years, but a few years ago I ditched that too. It was so freeing. Just that one last vestige of giving a crap was gone. I’ve never had a professional manicure or pedicure. I don’t color my hair. I am SO ready for year-round RV life! Loved this post, Mrs. FW! Clothes-less 2014/15 idea rocks! 🙂
That’s fabulous, Kay! Love it. It is so freeing! You really are ready for RV life my friend 🙂
I honestly hate going out and shopping for clothes, but once I find something I like, I tend to buy 3-5 of them in all different colors. I avoid buying clothes unless I need to though – and hopefully, I will need to buy new clothes in 2015 as I lose weight. I already know that if I don’t, I’ll have to buy larger non-lined jeans as the weather warms up 🙁 However, I still have some older, smaller clothes that are still in decent shape, so hopefully not too many!
I do the same thing with getting multiples when I’m buying new–I have those black jeans in regular jean color as well and I have that black long-sleeve top in grey too. Same brand/size/cheap price from Kohl’s, which is basically the only store I shop new at.
I wish you all the best with your weight loss goals! You can do it :)!!
Awesome accomplishment! As a guy, I’d like to ask what Mr. Frugalwoods’ work attire requirements are? Must he wear “corporate casual” or can he dress down at his work? I ask because I spend very little on clothes as well EXCEPT I find the need to have to buy a few new button up dress shirts every year. I have long arms and tend to put holes in my elbows every so often at work. I used to go through dress shoes every year too due to wear and tear but this past year I got in the habit of wearing sneakers to get to/from the office and keeping my nice dress pair at the office. They are now rarely exposed to the outside elements and stay pristine.
Oh no, the elbows :)! Mr. FW is actually very fortunate–his office has no dress code. He’s a software engineer and his office culture is extremely laid back (think ping pong table and beer on Friday afternoons 🙂 ). Hence, he wears jeans or shorts and a t-shirt all summer and jeans with a sweater/casual button down/lumberjack shirt (that’s what I call his favorite wool/flannel button-downs from Goodwill) all winter.
The man does have some dress clothes, which he needs for presentations/conferences/weddings/family events, but he honestly doesn’t own much in that category. He has one suit, which we had custom-made by the online suit retailer Indochino (totally worth it, btw).
Regarding your hole-prone shirts, where are you buying them? We used to get his dress shirts from Marshall’s or TJ Maxx because they’re dirt cheap, but the quality was awful and they’d fall apart. So, we upgraded and he now has a few dress shirts from the clearance rack at the Gap and a J Crew dress shirt we found by the side of the road :). Another great thing is that these shirts are wrinkle-free, which means we don’t need to dry clean or iron them (good thing since dry cleaning is $$$$ and neither of us has touched an iron in years).
Your strategy of not wearing dress shoes outside is pure genius. That’s what I do too and it’s amazing how much longer shoes last if they’re just walking around an office. Mr. FW wears his hiking shoes basically every day (lucky dog).
Oh that’s so great! I envy him. Sometimes I’d like nothing more than to wear my jeans and favorite hoodie every day at work.
If I do buy my shirts new, I tend to go to Kohl’s because with their coupons, discounts, etc, I can get them for handsome fraction of the original listed price. Their store brand shirts (Croft & Barrow) aren’t the best quality but I have had some luck with some of them lasting me years but of course others have ripped. Other shirts I get at the thrift stores and I love that because I can try them on before I buy them. Men’s shirts in a department store are usually packaged up with millions of pins and excess plastic and paper so it’s rare to be able to try on eon before I buy it.
And oh yes, I don’t iron much either. I prefer to look for non-iron shirts. Sometimes for a fancy occasion like a wedding I’ll starch and press a shirt for a nice crisp look but I never do that for a normal work day.
Yep, I keep my dress/work shoes parked right under my desk and break ’em out in the office. I probably look goofy walking in with old dirty white Reebok shoes with my nice dress slacks and collared shirt but who cares!
Thanks as always for taking the time to respond to all of us! Your care, personal attention, and witty, fun writing style are admirable! 🙂
Kohl’s is the best deal for new clothes, I’m convinced! It’s my pleasure to read and respond–I really appreciate everyone’s comments. So fun for me to read! Thank you, as always, for yours 🙂
I love this post – how interesting…! I’m seriously considering a no-clothes buying month to start. I’m a newbie to the frugal world (need to get my ducks in a row). I have more than enough clothes in my closet to get me by for work and working outside (we live on a small acreage and I have horses). I’ve lost some weight recently (yeah!) so some new (or new-to-me) clothes might be in order by the spring, but it would be really neat to get to April without buying anything. Thanks for the inspiration!
Welcome to the frugal world, Laura– don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions :)!! And congrats on losing weight! I think doing a no-clothes month is a great idea and I wish you all the best. Thanks for much for reading and for commenting!
I did a three month shopping ban in Q1 of 2014 and I enjoyed it! I didn’t buy much in the way of clothing for the remainder of the year and I said to myself that this year, I wouldn’t need to buy anything at all since I have more than enough clothes and shoes. So you know what? I’m with you 100% on the 2015 shopping ban. 🙂
That’s fabulous! I’m so excited you’re with me! Woohoo! We can do this, my friend 🙂
Wow! That is so impressive and inspiring! I would love to do a no clothes shopping year, but I have a wedding dress to buy this year… and probably a few other items to go along with it. Last year I don’t think I bought too many clothes, but that was mostly because I was out of town for work for most of the year and so I didn’t have the opportunity (workboots and long underwear for the majority of the year). I have lost some weight over the past year though, so some of my old clothes are no longer fitting as well. I may have to invest in a few pieces so I’m not having my clothes fall off at inconvenient times. 🙂
Good luck with the challenge for another year!
A wedding dress is a wonderful excuse to buy something! Also, definitely good to have clothes that don’t fall off :). Congrats on losing weight–that’s awesome! And, happy wedding!
That is amazing that you didn’t buy anything clothes for the past year. What a great achievement. I think we can give you a pass for spending $0.50 on the belt. 🙂
Someone I know posted a picture the other day on Facebook showing off all the designer jeans he has. I think there must have been 20 or 25 pair of jeans. At $100 a pop minimum (probably more), that’s a lot of money!
Thank you for the pass on the belt ;). I do really like it, so I don’t want to give it up! Whoa–that’s a lot of jeans–not how I’d want to spend my money!
I have decided to do a shopping ban in 2015. So far, so good. I even had to run into Marshall’s (my weakness!) and I managed to walk out without a single item of clothing. I’ve done successful month-long shopping bans in the past, but I have to admit I’m a bit anxious about doing it for the entire year.
My big motivator is the fact that shopping has become my hobby and a stress reliever. I want to focus more on experiences rather than things, and that includes enjoying what I already have. I really love clothes, but I have more than enough. Instead of procuring more, I’ll just get creative with what’s already in my closet. That’s the fun part anyway.
It’s very motivating to read about your experience from last year. Reading this makes me feel like maybe I can go a whole year without shopping. It’s not deprivation; it sounds like you gained a lot from your experience. I’ll keep that in mind when I’m tempted.
Great job! 5 days in and oly 360 to go… YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!
It definitely turned into more of a personal journey for me than a deprivation. I really am thankful for the experience–it ended up being such an interesting endeavor. I like your desire to focus more on experiences–I think that’s a wonderful approach to take. Best of luck to you this year! We can both do it :)!
Nice shoes are my weakness, and I didn’t buy a new pair all year. Just a pair of workout shoes. As for clothes, just a couple golf shirts and some workout clothes from Marshalls. I don’t wear underwear, so no need to replace…. 🙂
Shoes are definitely pretty necessary–especially when used for exercising!
FrugalHound sent out a tweet, “Oh the humiliation.”
Sounds like something she would say 🙂
My challenge to myself for 2015 is to be content with the things I already have. I’ve bought a lot of clothes over the last two years and it’s been great to update my wardrobe, but I’m starting to feel like I’m not making the best purchasing decisions. I think a shopping ban for a year would be perfect for me right now. I love black/white challenges where there is no grey area with decision making. And this will help me put more money into savings! Thank you for the idea!
I think that sounds like a wonderful challenge! The lack of exceptions for my challenge is partly what made it so successful for me–I think you’re right about how good it can be to lack a grey area. I just knew I couldn’t buy a thing! Good luck to you 🙂
Back in 2011, I did a ban on one thing a month. Just for that month. Things I gave up were television, shopping, dining out, swearing, driving, alcohol, meat, dairy, sugar, eBay, non-water beverages, and makeup. I was inspired by a book called Living Well With Less. Television was the easiest, and sugar was the hardest. Your no clothes buying made me think of my own challenge. Maybe I should do it again. What else should I give up for a month?
What a fabulous idea! I’ve never thought of doing a challenge in that way before, but that makes perfect sense. A great way to isolate and eliminate distractions/unnecessary things in life. Hmmmm, other things you could potentially give-up… seems like you really hit all of the big ones already! You’ll have to let me know if you think of something else to give up, I’d be interested to hear what you come up with. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Congrats on such an inspiring personal challenge! I am happy to hear how satisfied you are with everything you already own, and it’s created more peace and serenity in your life. I want to get there, so I’ll probably read this article often! As you may or may not remember, I found your original article to help with my own thrift shopping love that got a little crazy this year.
My other idea for helping me spend less on thrift clothes besides re-reading motivating articles (because removing the app from my phone didn’t work!) – keep less fun money sitting around. We did some year-end summary spreadsheet work this weekend (which I love to do), and decided to up our retirement savings even more so after seeing the checking increase after every paycheck (yes even after the clothes there was still money accumulating). We’re pretty amped for our 2015’s savings plan. Now 64+% of our salaries are being saved in retirement accounts (never fear, we have an early retirement plan). Looking at our new figures, I’m feeling quite refocused! Fingers crossed!
PS – your outfits are darling. Love them all! That long sleeved wrap dress – BEAUTIFUL.
Thank you so much, Shannon! I do remember your online consignment store comment from the original post–which sounds like an equal parts awesome and dangerous thing :). Huge congrats on your savings plan for 2015! That’s exciting that you’re feeling motivated and refocused–way to go!
P.S. Thank you! I love that wrap dress 😉
Congrats on continuing your challenge for 2015! I think it’s an excellent opportunity to get creative with what you already own. One of my good friends is a thrift shopper extraordinaire (she introduced me to Goodwill-ing actually), and she is by far the most fashionable and creative person I know–she re-wears the same things, but always in a different way. I think my clothes-buying was, in the past, a self-esteem thing, but more so now it’s out of boredom and it’s such a time-suck to spend so much time shopping. I’m planning to do the no-clothes thing through 2015 and at least part of 2016–at least until I (hopefully) will need maternity clothes! I am leaving it a little open for things like accessories (like a new belt from Target or Goodwill, not fancypants jewelry) or occasionally shoes, but thinking of limiting it to no more than one new thing a month to keep from replacing my clothes shopping with shopping on other things! I too have to practically force husband to buy new things when they fall apart so it’s never an issue for him. 🙂
Sounds like a great plan, Jen! I realize that I may need to make an exception for maternity clothes at some point (hopefully in the near future) too :). Your husband sounds exactly like Mr. FW with his clothes!
You’re so right about shopping being a time suck too–think of all the extra time we’ll have now!
I did this in 2013 and did break down in November and bought clothes, so it was a sort of success. I just vowed no clothes in 2015 so you will be my inspiration and motivation to stay out of stores.
Woohoo! I’m excited you’re going to take the challenge–that’s awesome! We can do it :)!
I spent about 2 years not buying any clothes, thanks to our neighborhood Free Store. So I had “new” clothes all of the time. Then it shut down. I realized that even though I had been spending no money on clothes, I had the classic revolving closet thing going on. So I have been working on keeping and adding only clothes that I love.
I don’t feel bad about enjoying clothes. I like to dress up. I don’t feel like I HAVE to dress up and wear makeup, and I don’t every day, but I do enjoy those things. As Erin McKean said, prettiness is not a rent you owe for occupying a space marked female. But neither is unprettiness a debt you owe feminism.
So no, I haven’t banned myself from buying clothes. But yes, I do buy them mindfully. I try to only buy things at charity thrifts, but if I do determine I “need” something new, I stick to companies with transparent and ethical practices. When I do buy something, my strategy is to wear it for at least the next decade.
Wow, I very much like that quote from Erin McKean–thank you for sharing it. I too enjoy getting dressed up from time to time, but as you said, I like feeling that I don’t have to on a daily basis.
Buying mindfully is a wonderful approach. It sounds like you have a great system in place. Thank you, as always, for reading and commenting. I really appreciate your insights.
I commend you on a job well done. I am somewhat like MrFW I suppose in that I rarely buy clothes and usually have to be told that my stuff is too old to wear. I also think that it’s great you are changing your thinking, for the better in my opinion, regarding clothes and appearance. I wish you continued success. And FrugalHound, the poor dear looks like such a patient soul. 🙂
Thank you so much, I appreciate it! Frugal Hound is definitely a patient girl… and she gets lots of treats after every “photo shoot” 🙂
I love your site, and this post is no exception! I am wondering how your ban on purchasing clothes/thrift store wardrobe transitions into your professional working life? On a personal level, I feel that I could totally ban wearing make-up, coloring my hair, and purchasing appropriate (and often pricey) work attire; yet unfortunately I feel like these things have a direct impact on an individual’s (especially a woman’s) perceived professionalism/achievement in the workplace. Any thoughts on this?
I feel the same way Mindy. I work for a large corporation which is already intimidating in itself. Not sure if this is just my own insecurity?
You both raise a very interesting question and, I think it’s probably worthy of a post all its own. Thank you for asking!
For me personally, it’s not much of an issue because my workplace is fairly casual. That being said, I do dress professionally every day, but in thrift store clothes. I’ve always found blazers, suits, and nice dresses used for fairly inexpensive prices. In my experience, new clothes aren’t necessary as long as you can find used clothes that are in fairly decent condition. Then again, I’m not a keeping-up-with-the-Jonses type of gal, so it doesn’t matter to me if my clothes aren’t the latest style.
I think that sometimes as women, we perceive that we’re supposed to look or dress or act a certain way and I truly believe that we don’t need to. I look nice for work everyday, but I don’t think that for me, wearing make-up or coloring my hair would help me advance professionally. However, like I said, I do work in a not-image-conscious industry and so I’m not sure how this might play out in a more formal field, like perhaps investment banking.
I imagine that everyone’s experience is different and I’d be curious to hear what other women have experienced in this regard. Thank you again for raising the question!
Way to go! My husband and I recently made our second cross country move in as many years and I just could not believe how much crap we owned that was still boxed up – unused – from our first move! Ever since I’ve been on a warpath to get rid of things we don’t need and just stop buying stuff – it really sickens me to think of how much money I’ve wasted over the years. I put myself on a clothes ban in August and aside from a sweater I allowed myself at Christmas because I had a gift card, I’ve stuck to it! Thanks so much for your blog. It is such a refreshing spot on the Internet.
Thank you for your kind words, Krista! Wow–two cross country moves in two years is intense! I always feel the same way after we move, I’m like “where did this stuff come from??!!” Nothing makes you want to purge like moving :). Way to go on sticking with your clothes ban!
Awesome post – so inspiring! I’m not sure if I can get through the whole year without shopping, but it’s good to know that it is possible if you’re determined enough. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you! You can totally do it :)! Thanks so much for reading and commenting.
Ah I just can’t get behind this personally, though I’m glad it worked out for you! I have a lot of trouble finding dress clothes that 1) fit well and 2) last a long time. Even “high quality” shirts seem to fade too quickly. But again – kudos to you!
Men’s dress clothes are tough for sure! We’re lucky that Mr. FW doesn’t have to dress up at his office. Makes life easier for his clothes-related expenses. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂
Well done! Reminds me of the girl who went one year with the same little black dress, just accessorizing around it and took a picture every day. You sure can get creative with your closet. I don’t buy clothes in Guatemala, safe for the occasional thrift item which is imported, because the quality here is bad, and lots of synthetics which are hell under that heat. So I bought a $0.5 woolen hat before going to Europe for the winter, but the last shopping spree was a year ago in Miami. May hit the sales here in Spain for a few running items but that’s about it, I bought quality items the last time so they still last.
Definitely true about the creative options we have with our clothes. I often find that I can wear the same top or pants twice in a week and no one notices because I just accessorize differently. That’s too bad the quality of clothing is so poor in Guatemala, although I suppose on the flip side, it would prevent one from buying! Good luck with the sales in Spain :)!
I’m like Mr. Frugalwoods, I don’t feel the need to buy clothes unless out of pure necessity. Mrs. Living Rich Cheaply should try this though =) Fortunately, she is frugal but she can’t pass up a good deal.
I was just like your wife :)…. couldn’t pass up a thrift store deal! Had to go cold turkey!
I wear the same clothes outside in and inside out!
Hey, that’s one strategy!
Great job and cute outfits! I experienced the same positive changes in my attitude about clothing by not shopping during 2014. Our motivations were a bit different (clawing my way out of debt right now) – but the effect is similar. I can now get ready pretty quickly, am just fine relying on a regular rotation of outfits, and we were able to pay off $12,000 in debt during 2014:
Back in graduate school, I had one professor who wore the same basic, comfortable-looking outfit every single day. In reminiscing, I think it took me at least a month to realize it. The point is this: although we shouldn’t care so much about how we’re perceived by others, they really don’t notice as much as we think that they do.
We have a lot more debt to pay off, so looks like I will be joining you in not shopping during 2015 . . . and I feel good about it 🙂
Great job on paying off so much debt in 2014–congrats! I think you’re very right that no one cares what we look like as much as we think they do. Glad to hear you’re joining the challenge for 2015–woohoo!
Thanks for posting this it actually made me realize I did not buy any clothes throughout 2014 other than what I recieved at Christmas. Good old socks in the stocking!
You will be more bad ass then me going clothes free throughout 2015 as I will need to buy some jeans this year as I have worn holes into three pairs throughout 2014 while working. Actually I should just get the girlfriend to show me how to fix them to save some cash and learn a new skill in 2015!
Mr. Captain Cash
Hey way to go on being clothes-free in 2014 :)! Regarding holes in jeans, we’ve effectively stitched up some holes in Mr. FW’s pants and that’ll usually hold them for awhile. It’s usually not a permanent solution, but you might get a few more months out of them. You should definitely try it out!
This is timely, since I decided last week to do a year-long clothes/shoes shopping ban. I started out in 2013 trying to rebuild a wardrobe after 2 kids and various body changes (my feet grew a whole shoe size!) but then I just kept…going. I was using online shopping as a stress-release and to add some “excitement” into my life (whoo hoo! packages! shiny and new!) and definitely putting way too much thought into what I wore. And now I just have so so much. It wasn’t so much the money I spent but the EXCESS of all that stuff that disgusted me. I plan to save the money I would’ve spent but even if I do spend it, I’d rather use it for something more in line with my values. Thanks for the inspiration!
Kudos to you for coming to that decision! I think it’s awesome you decided to draw a line and stop spending–way to go. Thanks so much for reading and commenting :). And, good luck with the ban in 2015!
Hats off to your for doing this! And frugal hound looks too cute 🙂 I was thinking of doing something like this myself, maybe for 6 months, since I have way too many clothes and I’m interested to see how difficult, or relatively easy the challenge will be for me. You did a wonderful job though getting creative and making use of clothes you already have and that belt was definitely a steal!
Thank you so much! I think that belt was a steal too :). A 6 month ban sounds great to me–you can do it!
That’s great. I’m not sure I can do it. I did SEVERELY limit my clothing spending amount for 2015 though. That’s a step in the right direction right?
You totally limited your clothes spending in 2015–I was impressed! Definitely a huge step in the right direction. And, you might need clothes in 2015–I just happen to know that I really don’t neeeeeeeed anything. I must be restrained from thrift store sales 😉
This is an inspirational post! I cut back a lot last year on clothes shopping, but will strive for even better in 2015. I recently found your blog through the MMM forum and am hooked. You have very similar goals to us. I’ll be back for sure!
Thank you so much! And, I’m so glad you found us :). Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
That’s great! I’m sure you can keep it up for another year if that is your goal. In the past year I haven’t gone on a clothes fast, but I’ve gone on a clothes diet. I agree that it does make getting ready in the morning much easier when you only have a select amount of things to wear. And they are all items that you like!
Totally! Makes life easier for sure :). Thanks for stopping by!
Love this post, love all of your adorbs outfits, love your shoes, and love your hot pink belt. 🙂 I can’t think of many clothes I bought this year. I think I bought a pair of jeans at a consignment shop and then I bought a nice winter coat. Shannon is right – once you stop working there is no need for nice clothes. I wear work out clothes pretty much every day, that is if the beans allow me to get dressed out of my pajamas at some point. I keep wanting to give away a lot of my old work clothes but then worry I might have to work a “real job” sometime again 😉
Hahah, thank you! Wearing workout clothes all day sounds pretty fabulous to me :). I am indeed looking forward to figuring out my “homestead gear.” Mr. FW is currently obsessed with the idea of insulated overalls for us to wear on the homestead, so I think we’re really going to be rocking it out there in the woods :).
I’ve never been crazy about shopping for clothes myself. I buy a few things here and there as needed, but I usually keep it to a minimum. Shopping for clothes just isn’t something I’ve ever really enjoyed. With that said, you make a really great point about how you said you learned to appreciate what you already have. Sometimes I look around at our house and wish we could upgrade. A house with an extra bedroom, master bathroom and an updated kitchen. Then I stop and remind myself: Your house works fine and you should be happy to have it. No need to spend more!
So true! I have to remind myself of that on a daily basis too. Life is good and we are very lucky to have more than we need :).
That’s so funny I thought about this for 2015 but It wouldn’t be much of a challenge as I prob only spend about 250.00 a year on my clothes and shoes! Now buying for my daughter is a whole other ball game! Great job!
Thank you so much! Hey, every little bit counts–I actually think I probably spent about $250 on clothes in past years as well. Definitely not a huge amount, but not nothing :).
What a great article. I will share it with my community. Thank you so much. I believe that we waste so much money in clothes. I personally only spend about $300 per year and I feel that I have way too much clothes.
Thank you .
Thanks so much for reading! And, way to go on keeping your clothes expenses low!
So, I’ve been thinking about this for the last couple weeks. I just ran across your blog, YES, this is exactly what I needed. I need somewhere to go, someone to guide me thought this challenge. I am pretty frugal, not as frugal as you, I might add. I never buy full-priced items, and LOVE getting a deal, it makes me feel SO good, so good that I can’t stop myself from buying when there’s a really good deal, uh-oh! I grew up with a mother who LOVES to shop and still does. I don’t want my kids to have these same habits, I want them to appreciate new things and understand the value of money. I see so much excess everywhere I turn! We’re also on the 5 year plan to build a new home, so this is just another way to save as well. It’s the little things. I feel like it would be such a gratifying feeling in the end, like a HUGE sale and would lead to many other good habits – buy only what you need, another goal! Thankful I found you!!
Hi Amy! I’m so glad you did find me :)! You can totally do this challenge–woohoo! It has definitely led to other good habits around spending for me. All in all, it really has made me a much more mindful consumer. Every time I’m about to spend money, I really do check myself to make sure it’s honestly something I need. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
Wow, a whole year! That’s awesome. I love clothes, but have no cohesive eye, so I end up with lovely (and overpriced!) pieces that I have a hard time integrating into a “look”. What I’ve been doing for the past few months is selling old clothes on eBay (I’ve been shocked at what people are willing to pay for my old clothes!). Far too many items have only been worn once or twice- and some not at all. Whatever I make off my old clothing proceeds is my clothing budget, full stop, and I only buy high-quality items that I love for a good price (often consignment or eBay items themselves). The bonus is that I’ve found eBaying to be a pretty fun side gig, too!
Your greyhound looks fabulous in her flapper getup!
Nicely done on the eBay selling–that’s awesome! I’ve never done that before, but it sounds like a great idea. And, I like that you then translate that into your clothes budget. What a good way to keep a lid on things.
Frugal Hound says thank you! Although she would like to clarify that she does not appreciate her flapper outfit 🙂
Synthetic underwear are the only way to go… especially for active people. I’m still using ones I bought back in 2008 and they are still holding up well and in great shape! Wash easy and dry quickly. Very breathable and comfortable. I used to buy a lot of clothes for well the things I do… Skiing, hiking, cycling, running, swimming / scuba and yes that was an expensive time acquiring them… But I have Saved over and over again by owning the gear rather than renting gear when I needed it.. I took the time to research good quality products and I haven’t purchased and clothing for several year and everything I own is doing just fine.
That’s how we acquired our hiking gear too! We definitely didn’t get the cheapest stuff–we researched for quality and just bided our time for deals (and the REI clearance rack). For performance gear, it is so not worth it to get cheap stuff that’ll wear out or not hold up. We went hiking last weekend in 20 degree weather and were totally fine thanks to our good wind shells, hats, mittens, etc. And, totally agree on the synthetic undies–we love our Ex Officio-brand! Thanks so much for reading!
I love your outfits!
I’m showing this article to my mom – she loves shopping for cheap items and now that she’s discovered online shopping, I think she’s accumulating too many clothes and shoes. She probably won’t go on a clothes shopping freeze but maybe this can get her to slow down a bit. 🙂
Thank you! I hope this might be helpful to your mom. I think it’s easy for online shopping to get away from us–just a click and it’s yours!
I’m a bit in awe over the sheer number of comments you’ve got here. This is an awesome post. The Alchemist hates shopping, heels, and would be makeup free even if her work didn’t ban it (they’re in food manufacturing). I spent a decent amount on clothes this year, but it was basically all necessary outerwear for surviving cold-weather biking, and a few pairs of synthetic underwear so my butt could survive hot weather biking 😛
You’ve inspired me to add this as a 2015 goal. I’ll allow myself one exception: a new pair of trail running shoes. Not that I do trail running (in shoes, that is) but they’re my favorite kind of all-purpose shoe when it’s not Hoth cold out or super muddy in the garden. I’m quite happy with my winter style of ‘lumberjack chic’ and summer style of ‘homeless chic’.
I think I’m going to give myself an additional goal: learn homebrewing at some point this year in preparation for a 2016 ban on store bought alcohol.
Many thanks my friend! And, it’s awesome that you’re joining the ban! Your winter and summer styles sound very similar to Mr. FW’s 😉
I am very impressed that you effectively spent less than a $1 in a year on clothes. I recently bought a pair of jeans and a couple of new khakis for work, but other than that think 2014 was probably the least I have ever spent on clothes. I will think about this post next time I am tempted to buy something and will probably put it down. Thanks for increasing my savings rate so I can retire even sooner!
You are most welcome, it’s my pleasure! Way to go on having a very low-clothes-spend 2014, that’s fantastic. And, best of luck in 2015!
I confess I’ve become a fan of your blog. Okay, maybe I’m just fangirling over adorable Ms. Frugal Hound (and I’m a cat person so that’s saying something).
Although I’ve thrifted in the past, my clothing philosophy is keep it classic, buy quality, and wear it into the ground. I’ve been teased about being a model for Land’s End and LL Bean, but both companies–at least LE did before Sears bought it and ruined it–make durable, attractive stuff. I think I’ll hop on the “no new clothes in 2015” bandwagon if you don’t mind. I’m actually planning on doing a bit of a purge this weekend because I have a lot of stuff that has gotten too big or I just don’t wear. Maybe I’ll … take everything to a thrift shop! 😀
Thank you so much for reading and fangirling ;). Frugal Hound is very flattered. So glad you’re joining the clothing ban for 2015! Woohoo!
I did a no-shopping-unless-I-could-eat-it month in July 2014 inspired by the minimalism book Joy of Less by Francine Jay. I was (and still am) trying to break the impulse to consume. I would often go shopping when I felt down or bored.
The minimalism effort helped me to get rid of a lot of clothes that did not fit or did not flatter me. Now I only keep clothes that I love and that make me look great. I have a lot of hand-me-downs from friends that are more stylish than I am so I have plenty to last me for a few years (I hope), but I need to focus on staying the same size!
People have also noticed that I am dressing better because now I only have clothes that look great. I have had the opposite journey of Mrs. FW in that I used to care more about being comfortable than being stylish. Now I try to be both with the help of a bunch of stylish hand-me downs!
I have also noticed that the style of jeans changes more often than I realized. I have some boot cut jeans that no one except me wears anymore! I also realize that skirts and dresses never seem to go out of style.
I will be hosting my own garage sale of stuff that no longer serves me next weekend that includes a lot of clothes!
Thank you Mrs. FW for your continued inspiration!
I like your no-shopping-unless-I-could-eat-it challenge–that’s a great idea! And, I’l have to check out that book, sounds like something I would enjoy.
Looking good and feeling good about your appearance are definitely important in my opinion. I just have to be careful that it doesn’t become too consuming for me. That’s awesome that you have hand-me-downs from friends–I love hand-me-downs :)!
Jeans do have an annoying tendency to change styles. I like my skinny jeans, which I think are still in style, but I’m not sure… I got them at Kohl’s for $20 in 2013 and am still rocking them. Also, yes skirts and dresses tend to endure the style shifts better than pants I think.
It is refreshing to read about no spendng and removing temptation by not being around shops. I found that finding a hobby to focus on that provides the ‘flow’ that consuming (material possessions, food, drink, etc) provides has helped enormously. I chose exercise and focus on heath and fitness to lose myself in. It works well as I have something time consuming (gym workouts, researching information, etc) plus the added benefits of rewarding myself with ‘me’ time and feeling good with NO guilt afterwards plus improved sleep, skin, muscle tone and general health much, much, much better than consuming.
I completely agree with you, Sara! It’s wonderful to have non-consumption related hobbies. I think that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy yoga and hiking so much. There’s basically no downside to pursuing those activities on a regular basis. Thanks so much for sharing!
This is awesome, and really inspiring! I love the idea of not even considering whether you’re going to buy something – it’s just not an option. I think that takes a lot of the guess work out of frugality.
I’d love to adapt something similar. I think for my lifestyle/wardrobe, it’ll need to be more of a “one out, one in” kind of rule. I have a very, very small wardrobe, and I’ve often found that if a shirt rips or my tights get a run, I truly don’t have an alternative! Of course, that could just as easily be me making excuses for a small shopping habit… I think the only way to find out is to give this a shot, and try my best not to allow for excuses, even if it means doing laundry a bit more often.
It definitely takes the guess work out of frugality–that’s a great way to put it :)! A ‘one in, one out’ rule sounds like a great plan for someone with a small wardrobe. I just have way too many clothes right now!
I’m on the other side of a couple years of buying almost nothing new. The last time I was a clothes horse was in college, when I would shop almost weekly (*shudder*). Then I got married and gained weight, at which point I HAD to buy new clothes, but hated it. Now I’ve LOST the weight, but don’t really have a wardrobe to go with it. I’m the size I was in college, but I gave those clothes away at the height of my gain because I just couldn’t handle seeing them OR I ruined them by squeezing my expanding self into them for too long. *sigh* So now I have basically two pairs of pants that fit, some shirts, and all my shoes are starting to fall apart. Unlike 20 year old me, I HATE shopping, but it is definitely getting to the point that I need to buy some clothes.
Congrats for losing the weight! That’s awesome! And, sounds like you need to hit up the thrift stores :). It’s good to have clothes that fit–it felt so great for me to buy smaller sizes after I lost weight. Good luck to you!
Great job. I spent $266 this year. My job is kinda stuffy so I have to wear blazers etc. and well my horizons are not the only thing that have been expanding. Still have too many clothes though… I use the “I need to look professional” excuse way too much…. How many pairs of black dress pants does any person need. I should post some pictures of my closet for public shaming. anyhoo Hubby is opposite and still has clothes from highschool. LOL
Love your outfits and you are right “every frugal tip in the world isn’t going to save as much money as simply not buying anything.”
$266 sounds pretty reasonable to me–I think that’s probably pretty similar to what I spent on clothes in 2013. I’ve definitely found that I can just rotate work clothes around and no one notices that I usually wear the same pants twice a week. Love that your hubby still have clothes from high school!
Firstly, bless you and your writing. It is so nice to read an article that is written so well. It is rare across the “blogosphere”, to find such well written articles.
Secondly, you have presented a great reason to give this a try, and I commit to a clothes-less 2015 🙂
Thanks so much for reading and good luck with the no-clothes-buying ban :)!
I’ve been thinking about putting a similar ban on myself. I go back and forth everyday, but I love your reflection on your own experience.
It has been a great experience for me–I must say I’m glad I did it. You could always try a ban for a shorter period of time, perhaps 6 months or so if you’re interested in dipping a toe in 🙂
Great write-up! I recently got inspired to do something similar after reading a great line on The Minimalists website. To paraphrase, ‘if you only own your favorite things, then you get to wear your favorite stuff every day’. They also comment, as you did, on the ease of getting dressed in the morning. Combine both of those with the money saved and it sounds like a win, win, win scenario!
Thank you! That’s a great quote. I’ve really come to appreciate the simplicity of wearing the clothes that I own. Somehow, it’s a less stressful experience and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything new. Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂
Tips for men. I buy great used shirts here in Atlanta for $2.50 at Goodwill. Pink, Brooks Brothers etc. Great stuff. I’m a 17/35 so that’s rare, but what I’ll do is buy shirts with 32-34 sleeves and roll them up. Plus at 6′ 2″ 190 lbs the 17’s have enough fabric for a makeshift sail to cross the Atlantic.
When I used to travel extensively, I’d tack on side visits to a city’s thrift shops. The best one’s are in red state cities in their suburban neighborhoods. Not too many hipsters or students grabbing the bargains. Also, you can get tons of quality khaki pants at those same locations. On occasion I’d buy quality fleeces, (Patagonia) of any size and sell them on Craigslist. Paid for my clothes.
Bernard Baruch attributed his success to, ” buy(ing) my straw hats in the fall”. Do the same with clothes.
Those sound like some great menswear tips! Thank you! We definitely suffer from the hipster-and-student attacks on our thrift stores here in Cambridge 🙂
Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
I love your style!! I’m into the leggings with top/dress and flats – its comfy and cute!
Thanks! Leggings are basically the greatest clothing invention ever. It’s my go-to favorite outfit.
I have tried doing spending freezes in the past but have such a hard time sticking with them, regardless of what they were for. I know the benefits and can see how my life would change if I could do it but I still have trouble. It is inspiring to see someone who made it through an entire year.
It’s definitely a challenge at first, but I actually find that it’s gotten easier as time goes on. I’m so accustomed to not buying clothes now, that I think it would feel odd to buy them, if that makes sense :). Thanks so much for stopping by!
Love this! So glad you accomplished your goal and now on to round 2! I feel like sending you a roll of duct tape, a needle and thread and scrap fabric-this challenge could go on a looong time! Yeah! I find it interesting that some of my favorite clothes are hand me downs, free box finds or garage sale treasures. Even my kids love the thrill of looking for great items at consignment shops and garage sales. I’ve realized I can get away with trading out 2 pairs of pants, about 3-4 T-shirts or long sleeve T’s, 3 sweaters or hoodies and either tennis shoes or flip flops and I happily go through my da .(But I still have a closet full of clothes) Less laundry and decision making when it is pared down!
Thank you so much, Amy! It has certainly lasted longer than I expected initially, which I’m very pleased about. That’s great that you’ve found awesome clothes used or free–that’s the way to go :)!
Can’t gain weight, so relate to that. Wish I could keep that in mind when I do gain! I have two sizes in my wardrobe, one for the fit me and the other is for when I gain back those 10lbs again. I would have a fab wardrobe and less need to buy clothes if I stuck to my fit weight.
Ahh yes, I have plenty of larger sizes hanging out in my closet too… but I agree with you, best to stay in shape!
I really really want to do this! I am working on going through my closet now to weed out clothes that don’t make me happy/ fit well. Part of me is hoping that I will identify gaps/ holes in my closet allowing me to buy more clothes… sick I know. Maybe this will be my challenge starting June 1st!! any tips on easing into it in the beginning? Did you have fun playing around with outfits at first?
Hey that’s awesome! For me, I just set a date and went cold turkey on not buying. That approach always works best for me because exceptions (such as if I’d said I could buy certain types of clothes) don’t work for me. I have to just cut myself off entirely :)! I’ll admit that the first few months are the most difficult, but once I got into it, I don’t even think about it anymore. I’m 16 months into not buying clothes and I honestly just don’t even think about it anymore. Over time, it totally becomes the new normal. I wish you ALL the very best and you’ll have to keep me posted on your journey!
how’s this challenge going now? While you could likely make a lot in your wardrobe work, I highly suggest you pick up a few key maternity pieces (especially for near the end). If you’re buying new, Target often has cartwheel coupons for maternity clothes. I like their Liz Lange black pants, which are super comfy but still appropriate for work. I had two pairs of those, a few nice tops, two dresses, a pair of maternity shorts, and a few t-shirts and made it work. Oh, and I had a maternity suit that I’m still wearing for lap swimming; swimming was an excellent pregnancy workout.
Hope you’re able to find workable clothes for you without significantly impacting the budget. But if you find your clothes getting tight, I encourage you to be okay with either buying a few pieces or trying hard to find a friend who will loan you some clothes.
The challenge is still going strong! I’m 16 months into not buying clothes with no end in sight :). Fortunately, I’ve received a lot of maternity hand-me-downs from my sister and a few friends, so I’m hoping I can get through the pregnancy with those clothes and not have to buy anything. But, I appreciate the suggestions in case I do find I need some items!
Glad to hear you have hand-me-downs! I know some people make it through without buying new clothes, but I don’t know how. I was fine until past 20 weeks with what I had, but it was increasingly evident I was getting huge and needed the right size after that. Good luck!
I have been doing a no clothes shopping year in 2015. Unfortunately all my undies were so old that the elastic recently went so they wouldn’t stay on at all and they became holey so I have had to go out and buy a new set of undies. Apart from that I haven’t bought anything and have actually continued to reduce my wardrobe as I’ve worked out what my personal style is.
My motivation for this is 2-fold… I have been off work on long-term sick leave for 2 years and looking at ways to save us money AND i am extremely passionate about sustainability and doing what I can to help the environment.
Congrats on doing the no-clothes buying in 2015! I really do love what it’s done for me holistically. And, I agree with you about the sustainability aspect–less consumption is fantastic.
I’m 3 months pregnant and I’m thinking that aside from a few key maternity pieces from the thrift store that I can make this happen! Challenge accepted! I’m excited! Btw your motivations are eerily similar to mine! Mad respect sister ( insert fist in the air hehe)! Keep fighting the good fight 🙂
Awesome! Way to go!! I’m planning on getting through pregnancy without buying much of anything either–we can do it :). Fist bump!
I am very inspired by your ban. I have tried to do a shopping ban myself, but I haven’t been successful. I’ve noticed that I like to thrift store shop for fun or when I get bored. I love finding something fashionable or expensive for pennies, but I know that even my thrift store receipts add up to quite a bit. I really, really want to try and accomplish this goal – do you have any tips to help me stay motivated and less tempted? Also, I wanted to share with you the name of a baby consignment shop in Belmont – Growing Up. I have traded in a lot of my daughter’s clothes and toys for credit, and then I can buy her new clothes and shoes for free. It’s really handy for when you have a growing baby.
Hi! I came across your blog after googling “frugal tips” and I absolutely love your philosophy of simple living! My husband and I are followers of Christ and actually began our own clothing ban a couple of years ago as a sort of radical experiment to be more counter-cultural. It was transformative in many of the ways you describe here. However, I now have trouble buying clothes that I really need, as it is such a wrestle for me over every purchase I now make. I go back and forth over what I should buy new and used. Your guidelines are an immense help for me in this as I am working on building my wardrobe again. The Lord has led me to limit my shopping to thrift stores and consignment shops in our area and so far I haven’t had to pay over $5 for an article of clothing! However, I am in great need of flats (I love that you reject wearing heels too – we are kindred souls!) and nice pants. I noticed that you have some nice and comfortable looking flats in your pictures. How do you find those in the colors and size you need at a reasonable price? The only ones I have found that are cheap scrub my heels and have no padding. I would love to know whether you spend more on shoes or not. I wear shoes until they fall apart, which means it is probably ok for me to spend a lot and get the best quality, but I still hate investing so much in something like that. I have also been looking for a good place to buy some nice pants. Your pants look nice and I would love to know what brand you stick with at Khol’s for all of your pants needs. Thanks!!
Would you link me to the specific shoes that you get from Target? I’ve had some flats from there before that hurt the back of my heels, but I’m willing to try a different brand from there if they work for you. Thanks!!
Hi, I am new to your site and so glad that in your case frugality doesn’t mean lack of fashion sense.
I don’t shop much for clothing, ever, but when I go home it’s hard to convince my mom I don’t need anything. So I’ve given her a few permissions for washable wool socks, and a cardigan or two. But I have a strict one-in, one-out policy, and a lot of my clothes get worn until they really are falling apart. I patch, and mend, and make new if I can since I like to sew, but keeping a limited wardrobe is really nice.
Also since I enjoy the new method of folding ala MarieKondo all of one season fits into a drawer, minus my dresses in my closet and my big sweaters. 🙂
You’re post has inspired me. I stopped working last year to stay home and take care of my baby, so logically I have no need to shop really, but I think it had always been something that makes me feel better about myself. My husband even pointed out that no matter what my clothing budget was, I always went over. It’s like a sickness! So I’m accepting the challenge. I too feel a great deal of satisfaction when I accomplish a challenge, so I’m hoping to have the same outcome. 🙂
This post is awesome and not just because of Frugal Hound’s hat collection.
I have been struggling with a shopping addiction for all my adult life, always spending more than I earn on my appearance. I find myself at age 35 in a few thousand dollars’ debt, no assets or investments, struggling to afford the cost of living, and STILL bitterly dissatisfied with my appearance. I have a respectable income but I never seem to have “the right” clothes. I justify shopping because the pieces I have currently aren’t “classic” or “flattering” enough. Then, in the store, I justify spending more than I can afford because quality pieces are an investment, right? Of course, after 1 wear I discover the item isn’t comfortable, is too hard to iron, stretches after 1 hour’s wear and won’t retract until dry-cleaned, or something other sinful attribute, and so the whole hunt for a replacement begins again.
It has to stop!
You have inspired me. No more pointless shopping!
I did this about 6 years ago for a year (Jan to Dec). I shopped from my, overflowing, wardrobe and it was amazing what I had but didn’t wear often. I love sewing and created many new items out of old items by up cycling them. Even today, years later, I am not a big spender on clothes at all, I buy very little new except underwear, nightwear (and shoes when I need them), but even then I shop only once a year perhaps twice. Not only have I saved loads of cash I also end up with rather unique clothes, rather than the run of the mill shop bought things, that everyone wears.
Thanks to this fabulous blog, November is my first Uber Frugal month! I love your blog – it’s well-written and fun, informative but never preachy, and I don’t know who is cuter: Frugal Hound or your baby! Tied for cuteness for sure.
Years ago I clipped a great cartoon “Save 100% when you buy nothing”.
Looking forward to all your posts!
LOVE LOVE LOOOOOOVEEEE your blog! My husband and I are on our own frugal journey towards financial freedom. We were struggling in NH bearly keeping our head above water. Early 2015 we arrive at the conclusion that we were actually in fact DROWNING in our bills. We budgeted every single penny but never seemed to move up. A paycheck would come in and we would STILL have a negative amount in our bank account (celebrating “yaaa we are only -$75 now instead of almost -$400” is bittersweet). Finally in April of 2015, His parents graciously offered us a room in their house in Washington state rent and utilities (and food too) FREE of charge! My husband instantly got a job and his parents payed for his cross country flight in June. I sold or gave away about 90% of what we owned. July 5th, 2015, I packed up my TINY Toyota Yaris with all our earthly belongings, a cage of ferrets in back and a borrowed teenager in the front (apparently it STILL bothers people that a grown woman would be traveling by herself so I HAD to bring a companion). We left NH at 5 am and traveled for a week to get to the Tacoma, WA area. It has been an adventure living in just one small room and sharing the rest of the house with his parents but we have been able to do GREAT things!!!! One of the great things to come for us is this very challenge!!! I recently became aware of the idea of a “capsule wardrobe”. With a little bit of change I was able to improve my style with the idea that less is more. I have a closet with 20 mix and match pieces (not including base wardrobe ie… Outdoor clothes, work out clothes, under garments and lounge clothes that total about 15 pieces). I have found this to be very freeing. Not only am I utilizing ALL of my wardrobe but I was able to create a style all my own for the first time in my life!! Now I want to take this challenge so I can implement the things I have!!! Did you have to stock up on a few things before starting this challenge like undies or the like or were you just good to go? Did you find there were things you missed? I would love to hear more about this idea! Thank you for the inspiration and your continued dedication to the art of frugality!!!!
Congrats on embracing a frugal lifestyle, Amy! That’s so wonderful :)! So I didn’t stock up on anything before starting the ban–that being said, I had a lot of clothes (see previous thrift store shopping 🙂 ). The subsequent posts in this series delve into this idea even more. Hopefully they help too :)!
Frankly, I don’t why people are always buying new clothes and then getting rid of them sooner or later. In addition, people buy new clothes when they are moving up the corporate/government ladder and it is about the “dress to impress” and/or “keeping up with the Jones” American cultural attitude that is so pathetic and then they complain that they got nothing to wear or about the huge cleaners’ bill they are paying. Finally, all that business clothing that they have accumulated for the last 20 to 40 years when moving up in the corporate/government is given away and it is such a waste when you look at how little the business suits, shoes, ties, jewelry, etc. are not worn by people when they finally retired.
This is a very interesting perspective that I’ll keep in the forefront of my mind as I start my 2017 ban of clothing-shopping. However, I did give myself the wiggle room for underwear and work clothes if absolutely necessary since I’ll be transitioning jobs over the year. Thanks for sharing!!
I know I’m a little late on the discussion. I loved the info and the reality check you gave. I’m trying to do the same this year!
I just wanted to mention that you might want to edit the title of this article. I’m sure you meant “A Year Without SHOPPING for Clothes” and not without wearing actual clothing! LOL.
Thank you and keep up the great work!
I am new to this site so may not be posting in the right place but I have a question. I only shop second hand stores and have for years – just love to find a bargain. My question is about weight changes. I have been on and off diets for eons and have had to buy more clothes as my weight increases. I am sick of paying for weight loss programs that I fail at. Does anyone have a really simple idea for losing weight and then maintaining so I could get my wardrobe in one proper size and know that it will fit the next year. Thanks for any advice anyone can give me.
I had to lose 15 pounds from my baby weight my goal was to not buy new clothes. I was baking too many cookies and cakes that’s why my weight was going up not down. I saw a pic of myself and that’s it I knew I had to lose. So I did YouTube videos of Zumba everyday for 1 hour I had done it before I knew about warm up and cool down. I always ate properly cooking from scratch veggies, meat and rice snacks of fruits that’s how I normally ate. I cut out all sugar no more cookies no more cakes no baking I list 5 pounds in 2 weeks and went back to my old weight of 112lbs I keep active so I do xumba now at home sporadically it’s about eating healthy staying active
I too took 4 years off on buying clothes. This was a self-imposed hiatus of taking time off to be with my babies. When I was working I would buy the latest trends 2x a year for summer and winter. Whenever I moved I purged not because they were destroyed or stained but because I got tired of the item or I wanted space which now to me feels like what a waste. I had 1 transatlantic move so had to pare down to 3 big luggage’s at 1point. I still give my husband grief about giving up dresses I still loved. When I knew I wasn’t going to work I quickly stopped all unnecessary spending habit, stopped buying clothes, only groceries and bills that was it and did everything free such as going to parks, beaches, free festivals. I found I still loved all my clothes in my wardrobe and didn’t need to throw out anything when we move because I love what I already have. It makes you think twice now. Now that I’m working I find I don’t really need anything because I kept all my old work dresses. I still have brand new flats from last time I worked and have lots of heels from my single days. So I’m all set. Being without money makes you realize what’s most important – relationships, family, experiences and not stuff. So now the money I would have used for clothes and extras will go towards saving up for a home out goal is 1 year from now!